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Between 1976 and 1981 many state legislatures debated and implemented programs to aid beginning farmers by subsidizing credit or giving tax incentives to landowners to sell or lease their land to young farmers. The interest in beginning farmer programs was in response to a public perception that starting a family farm was becoming increasingly difficult. This article describes the programs in Minnesota, Louisiana, Texas, North Dakota, Iowa, Georgia and Indiana; places the programs in the context of federal legislative and regulatory activity; and analyzes how well the legislation and implementation of the state programs fit the goal of reducing barriers to entry in agriculture.